American & English Heritage Collide: The Land Rover Defender NAS Series

Land Rovers are British products through and through, synonymous with excellence and the Crown itself. But when the company decided to bring one of its most iconic products, the Land Rover Defender, to the shores of the United States, it faced some unique challenges. These challenges led to the truck itself becoming overhauled to the point that it became a series of its own, and so the legendary Land Rover Defender NAS (North American Specification) was born.

When Land Rover sought to bring the Defender to the United States, many of the issues dealt with safety specifications. Not that the truck was unsafe, but simply that each country has such differing regulations that an extreme overhaul was required. The Land Rover overhaul began in 1993 with production of the first Defender NAS series, and ended in 1997 due to the company’s unwillingness to continue retrofitting each model year to keep up with changing laws.

The NAS Defenders on their own were exceptionally popular; the initial batch of 525 sold quickly, and continue to be some of the rarest, most sought-after versions of the truck in the world. This first line ran with a 3.9-liter, V8 engine and was a hit amongst luxury utility vehicle enthusiasts (and still is).

Every model year exclusively ran with manual transmissions until the final 1997 production, which finally brought automatic capabilities to the truck. Due to a change in USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) regulations, in 1997, Land Rover ended the infamous production run, and the Defender NAS Series fell into the hands of enthusiasts and truck modifiers.

To own a rare Land Rover Defender NAS is to own a piece of automotive history; and to make these over 20-year -old trucks into modern luxury machines is a work of art.

At East Coast Defender, we have been working with all models of Land Rover Defenders for decades, the NAS series being one of our favorites in particular. With ultra-unique specifications, and an origin story suited for a superhero, these trucks are some of the most fun to modify. NAS Defenders were built with great innovation, and it’s a tradition we take very seriously. To learn more about the ways we are protecting the history of the Defender NAS, as well as other Defenders in general, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

A Timeline of the Land Rover and British Royalty

If there is one thing you can say about a Land Rover Defender, it’s that they have a pedigree. They are rugged luxury trucks that have evolved over the years, have seen some of the biggest events of modern history and, in some cases, have even been a part of them. They have also transported celebrities of all levels including Sean Connery, Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Lauren, John Mayer … and the list goes on and on.

Beyond celebrity is royalty, and in the United Kingdom, generations of the Crown have trusted the sturdy chassis of the Land Rover for most official business. Amongst the vehicle’s biggest fans is Queen Elizabeth, but the history of Land Rover and English royalty doesn’t start there.

King George VI, the Queen’s father, was gifted with the ceremonial 100th Land Rover ever built all the way back in 1948. The Queen herself received her first Land Rover in 1952 and memorably rode out of the top of one in 1951 during a royal celebration at Hyde Park. Since these events, well over half a century ago, the Royal Family has relied on Land Rover and shortly thereafter, Land Rover Defenders.

The Queen is a bit of a car buff, believe it or not. And her collection of vehicles is timeless itself:

  • A 1900 Daimler Phaeton, one of the very first royal cars (or cars in general)
  • 2001 Jaguar Daimler V8 Super LWB, although the Queen only owned this car for three years, it was loaded with clever gadgets like cigarette lighters that are actually secret switches that could activate various signals
  • The first ever Bentley Bentayga (a vehicle capable of going upwards of 187 mph)
  • A 2015 Range Rover LWB Landaulet

But her heart seems to be with Land Rover Defenders, which she not only owns but often drives even to this very day. Over the course of a few decades, The Queen has had, by most records, about 30 royal Land Rovers in her collection, a number of which have been Defenders. One of the more infamous, a 2002 Land Rover Defender made custom for her, featured high-level accessories intended to make the truck easier to drive and was equipped with a 4.2-liter V-8 engine. This was considered on the higher end of the power spectrum for a Defender at the time. Here is a quick history of Defenders and the Royal Family:

  • 1948: First Land Rover delivered to Royal Family
  • 1952: Queen gets her first Land Rover
  • 1978: First custom Land Rover built for the Queen
  • 2002: A Custom Land Rover Defender was created for the Queen

Quality, luxury, and sophistication are the calling cards of these epic trucks. At East Coast Defender, we look to continue that tradition. Our cutting-edge techniques and innovations take the Land Rover Defender to another level. From the beaches of our Florida headquarters, to the regal gates of Buckingham Palace, the Defender is an international icon. For more information about the history of the Defender, follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

3 Testimonials that Say it All

They say that actions speak louder than words, which is generally true. But words mean an awful lot too, especially when those words are a recommendation based on a personal experience. At East Coast Defender, we’ve built an array of innovative Land Rover Defenders over the years, each that look to speak precisely to our client’s personality. The feedback we have gotten in response has been overwhelmingly and emphatically positive.

And we hate to be that parent, but were just so proud of our Defenders that we felt the need to share some of this enthusiasm with you. These words speak volumes, and they are spoken from professionals from an assortment of fields.

(1) Servando Carrasco & Alex Morgan, Professional Soccer Players

We built Project 13 based on Alex’s jersey number, and with Servando and her unique sporting needs in mind.

“I’ve always liked the design and classic look of the Land Rover Defenders but it wasn’t until I went to the shop that I fell in love with these awesome trucks. Getting to see previous projects in person and handpicking every detail of Project 13 with the East Coast team has been a really cool experience.”—Alex Morgan

(2) The Plank Family, Founder of Under Armour

For this outrageous build dubbed Project XIII (Mr. Kevin Plank’s birthday is the 13th), we left no level of performance out. We included a 430-horsepower LS3, a roll cage, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

“Our experience working with ECD was a breeze – the team was responsive, considerate of our timeline and budget, and kept an open line of communication during our build. The progress website devoted to our project was incredibly helpful so we could check in and see real time pictures and progress! We could not be happier with the way our Defender turned out and have had so much fun with it.” – The Plank Family


(3) Sloan, Owner of the First Custom ECD Build:

Sloan was behind the wheel of our very first Defender build, and came back for more when we created the stunning Project Eclipse for her.

“This truck is so fantastic! Hand picking every little thing is such a fun and exciting process, and then to see it all come together so beautifully, with people that hand built it all there to share your excitement. Getting a custom build is a huge investment, but being a part of the process and experience, you aren’t just getting the truck, you are part of the entire evolution of your build.” -Sloan

See where your imagination can take you, and begin the Land Rover Defender build process at East Coast Defender today. To see our latest and greatest builds, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Off Road Spotlight: Dalton Highway

When a truck is built to have the power to push the limits of off-road capabilities, it seems vital to test them out. With our Land Rover Defenders, this often awe-inspiring driving aptitude comes coupled with a level of luxury rarely achieved by traditionally-built, off-road vehicles. There are many off-road opportunities in North America; some well-known and some obscure, but few combine the natural majesty and toughness of Alaska’s Dalton Highway.

Constructed in 1974 as a support path for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the main portions of the route’s 414 miles are still mainly used by long-hauling trucks and construction-based equipment. Regardless, it didn’t take long for off-road enthusiasts to see the potential in this rough and beautiful expanse. It’s a challenge that few vehicles of any sort are built for; only segments of the path are paved, and the type of terrain underfoot varies from gravel to mud to ice. Alongside that, elevation changes are frequent, and the weather can be perplexing even in the generally placid summer months.

The rewards for taking the journey are nothing short of breath-taking. Driving the Dalton Highway allows those looking for adventure to say they’ve sailed into the Arctic Circle (which you enter around 60 miles into the road) and have seen the mountains of the isolated Brooks Range. There is hardly any resemblance of modern civilization along the route, and the natural world is on full display with frequent sightings of bears, foxes, wolves, and deer.

One thing an experienced driver of the Dalton Highway will also mention is a less-inspiring sight that dots this scenic highway: abandoned vehicles. The course is punishing and built for only those with the proper gear and preparation. Some things you may want to consider if packing up your Land Rover Defender for an adventure this summer are:

 

  • Always travel with extra supplies: the Dalton Highway goes an entire 200-mile stretch without a gas station or stopping point, so you need to be prepared to support yourself.

 

  • Be ready for the scenery: Beyond getting your truck ready, don’t forget the lenses. This is the one of the most scenic roads in the world with a variety of unforgettable views; a world-class camera to go along with an all-purpose truck is wise.

 

  • Be adventurous: Respectable off-road drivers leave nothing to chance. But take your time, and soak in the Aurora Borealis that is frequent and enchanting in the summer. This highway is not meant to be a race.

Land Rover Defenders have conquered the Dalton Highway and will continue to do so. Are you up for a luxury adventure? To find your perfect adventure, follow our social media profiles, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and look out for posts that highlight new off-road excursions!

Project Spotlight: Project Indus

All of our projects carry a certain prestige. At East Coast Defender, we take quality and innovation very seriously. Our offerings are far beyond just Land Rover Defenders for sale; we offer a one-of-a-kind Defender building experience. We are a boutique outlet driven to produce exceptional luxury truck modifications that are unlike anything you’ve seen before.

With that all said, some builds reach an elite level and represent that perfection we always strive for. They become, even after they leave our facility, unforgettable. Project Indus was one such build.

Indus was a unique build because of the versatility that we incorporated in its design. With an open-air back tub, a convertible soft top, and a world-class front grille, it’s more than capable in any off-road environment. It’s a playful Defender, good for a day at the beach or a jaunt down some backroads. But we also inserted some sleek design into the outward appearance, and, because of this, Project Indus fits just as seamlessly in front of a sprawling mansion as it does an off-road trail.

That versatility is at the core of the Land Rover Defender; it’s a key aspect to its decades-long longevity and hold on the public imagination. We didn’t overwhelm and obscure that history in building Indus; we just took it to the next level.

Some other features are pretty eye-popping as well:

  • A new Chevy LS3 engine, powerful and easy to handle with a six-speed automatic transmission.
  • High performance LED lighting for any off-road situation. We bring a level of illumination unheard of with common Defenders.
  • Sleek black leather interior with hand-crafted Corbeau racing seats
  • 18” inch Sawtooth wheels loaded onto BF Goodrich tires, and in case one get’s a little with their off-road adventures: an ARB front bumper with WARN winch.
  • Modern electronics to the extreme: a touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth as well as world-class JBL speakers throughout.

If you are looking for a Land Rover Defender for sale and you want to fully customize the build, we are ready to hear from you. We’re driven by what our clients can think up, and we are seeking a challenge constantly. If you feel the same ambition, contact us today. To keep up to date on all things East Coast Defender, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

National Expansion: New Design Studio in Malibu, California

East Coast Defender Expands Nationally With New Design Studio in Malibu, California

Award-winning East Coast Defender announced today that the Florida-based builder of custom, hand-crafted Land Rover Defender’s will expand operations with the opening of a West Coast Design Studio. The Studio will be located in Malibu, California, one of the most desirable destinations on the West Coast and is scheduled to open September 2017. The centerpiece of the new property will include a finished East Coast Defender vehicle, encompassed by a luxury Design Studio where clients can create their own East Coast Defender SUV. Every vehicle designed at the Malibu Design Studio will be built at The Rover Dome in Kissimmee, Florida.

“East Coast Defender’s new Malibu Design Studio will feed the growing demand for our one-of-a-kind Defender builds on the West Coast,” said Scott Wallace, East Coast Defender Co-Owner. “The Studio will give our client base in that part of the country access to a state-of-the-art facility to create the SUV of their dreams. Once the final design has been created, our team in Kissimmee, Florida, will handcraft their vehicle at The Rover Dome.”

East Coast Defender’s West Coast Design Studio will be located at 22333 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 180 in Malibu, California. Malibu is among the most desirable locations on the West Coast and is widely known for its celebrity homes and stunning scenery, including wide and sandy Zuma Beach.

“For the past four years, The Rover Dome in Kissimmee has become the epicenter of activity for our clients across the country,” said Tom Humble, East Coast Defender Co-owner. “Expanding our operations to the West Coast is a logical next step in the growth of the company. This will be an extraordinary opportunity for our clients to check out our work and meet with our team members in their own backyard, without having to travel across the country.”

The Malibu design studio will be similar to the new one that is set to open at East Coast Defenders’ Kissimmee location. It will include a full complement of accessories including paint, fabric, and wheels, as well as many other interior and exterior options. A finished SUV, prior to delivery, will also be on display so potential clients can see first-hand the incredible craftsmanship by East Coast Defender. Clients in the area can choose to have their custom East Coast Defender delivered at the Malibu Design Studio, at the Rover Dome, or directly to their home.

“Since opening our doors four years ago, our business has rocketed from a simple two-person operation, to a revered brand with clients nationwide,” said Elliot Humble, East Coast Defender Co-owner. “Our growth is a testament to our ability to build only the best, custom Defender’s on the market. We’ve set our brand apart by delivering on the expectations of our clients and I’m excited about our West Coast expansion. I believe it will be the next step in East Coast Defender’s growing reputation as the world’s best custom Defender builder.”

All East Coast Defenders that are designed in the Malibu studio will be hand-built at The Rover Dome in Kissimmee, Florida.

East Coast Defender was founded by three self-prescribed “British petrol heads,” brothers Tom and Elliot Humble, and Scott Wallace. Growing up in England, near the famous Lode Lane factory where the Defenders were produced, the three found themselves surrounded by Defenders throughout their childhood. East Coast Defender officially opened its facility in 2013 and has been building the world’s most celebrated, handcrafted Defenders since that time. Today, the company is based in Kissimmee, Florida, where every ECD custom Defender SUV is built by hand in the company’s 21,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, called the Rover Dome.

Visit www.EastCoastDefender.com for more information and to learn how to own a handcrafted, custom engineered Defender.

About East Coast Defender
Located in Kissimmee, Florida, East Coast Defender is an award-winning builder of premium Land Rover Defenders. With over 25 years of Land Rover Defender building experience, ECD has earned a reputation for its commitment to perfection, its dedication to build quality and its ability to maintain the heritage of the Defender while modernizing it for clients. East Coast Defender has grown tremendously and has expanded the term “luxury vehicle” to “all-terrain multi-functional luxury vehicle.” East Coast Defender currently has over 30 full-time employees in its 21,000 square-foot facility. For more information, please visit EastCoastDefender.com or call (407) 483-4825.

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Media Contact:
Aaron Cook at TimePiece PR
(214) 520-3430 or ACook@TPRM.com

10 Signs You Own a Land Rover Defender

A lot of celebrities own Land Rover Defenders both for their unique design and the level of lavishness they bring to the driving experience. Sean Connery, Ralph Lauren, and the founder of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, are all noted to have, or have had, the iconic truck. Those of us without a famous name also own Defenders, but there does seem to be something that binds and defines the owners of these vehicles. Something in the luxury, in the aesthetic and attention to detail, that attracts some of us to the cult of the Defender.

We put a list together of the common signs that you, or someone you know, may very well be or should be the owner of an East Coast Defender.

  1. Trips to the grocery store are smooth, but involve extra time for parking lot explanations of the fine piece of automotive design you arrived in.
  2. You look down on people who drive lesser all-terrain vehicles. Literally. From atop your hand-stitched leather seat.
  3. You treat rainy days like challenges and take them on with glee.
  4. Everything becomes a parking lot or a road in your mind: beaches, meadows, front lawns.
  5. You dream of winches.
  6. Driving your children’s team to the soccer game becomes more than just a drive; it’s an experience for them.
  7. You know what town the Defender was built in, and maybe the name of that town’s best pub.
  8. Saturday nights are often spent discussing the finer points of the LS3 Corvette engine compared to the LC9.
  9. Having a vehicle that represents your unique personality and interests to a T is of the utmost importance to you.
  10. You know that your daily drive should be just as much of a spectacular experience as the rest of your life. That’s why you chose or will choose East Coast Defender.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? At East Coast Defender, our entire Rover Dome is full of men and women with chronic Defender disorder. Feel free to take advantage of our open door policy to see the finest Defenders being created in the United States. Contact us today to build your very own Defender, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“Project Blackout” Showcase

EAST COAST DEFENDER’S “PROJECT BLACKOUT” SHOWCASES THE BALANCED POWER OF LC9 SMALL-BLOCK ENGINE

East Coast Defender’s recent “Project Blackout” showcases the balanced power of the LC9 small-block engine wrapped inside a beautifully handcrafted, black-on-black Defender 90. Known for its excellent handling and acceleration, the 5.3L engine is a smart option for drivers who want the convenience of owning a daily driver, as well as a weekend warrior at the beach.

“‘Project Blackout’ is the perfect example of our team’s ability to build a Defender tailored to the specific needs of the owner,” said Scott Wallace, East Coast Defender Co-Owner. “The owner of this ECD Defender, asked us to build an SUV that is equally at home on the road, as it is during a long weekend at the beach. Naturally, the LC9 engine was the perfect engine option because it delivers balanced power without sacrificing efficiency.”
“Project Blackout” started out as a 1987 Defender 90, which was located by ECD co-founder Elliot Humble near Norfolk County in England. Project Blackout’s build began in June 2016 and rolled out of The Rover Dome on June 29, 2017.

“GM originally built the LC9 engine for use in their large SUVs, such as the Suburban and Yukon models,” said Tom Humble, East Coast Defender Co-owner. “It’s a powerful engine, offering exceptional performance with better fuel economy for everyday driving conditions, miles above what was put in the Defenders 25 years ago. With 326 available horsepower at her disposal, it was a perfect option giving the owner a broad, flat torque curve that’s perfect for everyday commuting.”

The black exterior with black interior is why this custom Defender was dubbed “Project Blackout”. It is finished in a classic black paint with black checkerplate accents and 18-inch black Sawtooth wheels. Inside the cabin are heated black leather Land Rover seats with black instrument panel and Momo leather wrapped steering wheel.

“We have an incredibly diverse client base who come to us from across the country,” said Elliot Humble, East Coast Defender Co-owner. “I believe that speaks volumes about the broad appeal of our handcrafted Defenders. Like a finely tailored shirt, each SUV we build exudes the character and personality of its owner. ‘Project Blackout’ is an attractive vehicle that’s a stunning extension of its new owner.”

Project Blackout performance specs include:

  • 5.3-liter, 326-hp Chevrolet LC9 V-8 engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Stainless steel fuel and brake lines
  • Borla Exhaust
  • EBC Performance brakes
  • Ron Davis aluminum radiator

Project Blackout interior and convenience specs include:

  • Classic Instruments Moal Bomber gauges
  • Kenwood Infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, GPS, and backup camera
  • Amplified Morel speakers with subwoofer
  • Heated leather Land Rover seats finished in black leather with four inward facing jump seats in the rear
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • LED lighting throughout

Project Blackout exterior and styling specs include:

  • Full roof rack with LED spot lamps
  • 18-inch Sawtooth wheels with BF Goodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires

East Coast Defender was founded by three self-prescribed “British petrol heads,” brothers Tom and Elliot Humble, and Scott Wallace. Growing up in England, near the famous Lode Lane factory where the Defenders were produced, the three found themselves surrounded by Defenders throughout their childhood. East Coast Defender officially opened its facility in 2013 and has been building the world’s most celebrated, handcrafted Defenders since that time. Today, the company is based in Kissimmee, Florida, where every ECD custom Defender SUV is built by hand in the company’s 21,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, called the Rover Dome.

Visit www.EastCoastDefender.com for more information and to learn how to own a handcrafted, custom engineered Defender.

About East Coast Defender
Located in Kissimmee,Florida, East Coast Defender is an award-winning builder of premium Land Rover Defenders. With over 25 years of Land Rover Defender building experience, ECD has earned a reputation for its commitment to perfection, its dedication to build quality and its ability to maintain the heritage of the Defender while modernizing it for clients. East Coast Defender has grown tremendously and has expanded the term “luxury vehicle” to “all-terrain multi-functional luxury vehicle.” East Coast Defender currently has over 30 full-time employees in its 21,000 square-foot facility. For more information, please visit EastCoastDefender.com or call (407) 483-4825.

Media contact, and for high res images and video:
Aaron Cook at TimePiece PR
(214) 520-3430 or ACook@TPRM.com

High-Res Images:
Photo Credit: Nathan Deremer/East Coast Defender

The Defender Assists Communities Across the World

Land Rover seeks to promote excellence both on and off the road. And lately, they have been doing just that via a partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. From 2013 through 2018, Land Rover will be giving £15 million pounds (a little over 19 million U.S. dollars) worth of support to susceptible and difficult-to-reach communities. The acclaimed “Reaching Vulnerable People Around the World” program has included a long list of countries and has expanded its reach from inception. From South Sudan to a European city-state such as Portugal, the service helps with humanitarian aid that can take many forms. At the center of it all is the Land Rover Defender.

One of the reasons the Red Cross partnered with Land Rover is the very practical and reliant capabilities of the Defender. Entering communities hit hard by natural disasters or with poor infrastructure is a job not every vehicle can take on, but a Defender is built for these challenges.

The Jaguar/Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director, Mark Cameron, put the concept bluntly: “With the use of Land Rover vehicles, we are also able to help the IFRC go into remote territories that would otherwise be hard to reach. This is often where the most vulnerable people are and, therefore, need support.”

Here are some of the raw numbers the program, as well as details on Land Rover’s unique partnership, as they have aided people worldwide:

  • Land Rover plans to reach at least 12 million people with aid by 2020.
  • Between 2007 and 2013, a similar program brought £6.4 million worth of tangible support and reached more than 800,000 people.
  • In 2012, Land Rover raised an additional £1 million to commemorate the building of the one-millionth Discovery truck line. This was capped by a 10,000-mile journey that took the truck from Birmingham to Beijing.
  • By 2015, some 45,000 people were delivered safe water and sanitation by Defenders in the country of Uganda.

It’s critical and lasting work, all made possible by the faith the Red Cross has in the ability of the Land Rover Defender. The foundation has actually had longstanding partnerships with Land Rover that date back to the 1950s. Although Defenders age, their hard work will go on, as this vital program continues through the years. To learn more about Land Rover Defender history and innovation, follow us on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.